Reading 1, Isaiah 42:1-7
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14
Gospel, John 12:1-11
Today’s gospel takes place right on the edge of holy week. Yesterday, we remembered the Lord’s passion at Mass. Today’s readings take place the day before Palm Sunday however, so Christ has not yet undergone those events. Indeed, the Crowds are seeking him out to praise him. How sobering it is for us to ponder this reaction of the crowd, knowing what is to come in just a matter of days. Perhaps just as sobering is hearing Judas berate a woman for wasting 300 days wages on the Lord when he himself will betray Christ for a mere 30 pieces of silver. It ought to be enough to awaken a sense of indignation among ourselves at their behavior.
And yet, how often do we ourselves identify with the crowds and with Judas, even more so than with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. The latter show their true, deep, long built commitments to Christ through their actions. Lazarus is elsewhere directly described as a friend of Jesus. Mary spares no expense in her desire to show her Lord her love and to worship Him. Martha is attentively serving Christ. Their commitment to Him will prove true and unwavering in the coming trial.
The same, as we know, cannot be said for Judas and the crowds. Thinking about their quick flight from Christ as things turned more difficult, I begin to wonder how easily in my own life I turn away from Christ when it becomes inconvenient or unpopular. Standing alone against the crowd can be difficult, as we know that even Peter could not do it in Palm Sunday’s readings. It wears on us slowly.
This is why we need community in order to thrive and know we are not alone. This is why Christ never intended his disciples to act alone. They followed him as a group, learning and growing together. Even in their ministry later, they do so united and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
During this most holy week, may we reflect on the shortcomings in our own lives as we see those of the crowds and Judas placed before us in the gospel. May we reflect on the virtues shown to us by those who remain faithful to Christ, and how we too can prove our faithfulness to Him. Most importantly, may we remember Him and His Passion.